An art-lover’s guide to Riga

An art-lover’s guide to Riga
03 November 2023

Commonly referred to as ‘The Metropolis of Art Nouveau’, (LiveRiga), and home to a thriving Modern Art scene, Riga is the place to go for anyone who loves art. Visual art and architecture can be found all over the city, particularly in the Old Town, where the autumn trees frame intricate Art Nouveau buildings and delicate pastel-coloured facades contrast with modern Street Art.

In this article, I’m going to introduce you to the top four art galleries you need to visit in Riga. 

Riga Art Nouveau Centre

Once the apartment home of Latvian architect Konstantīns Pēkšēns, the building was designed and built in 1903 and later restored in the years 2008-9. Located on Alberta Iela, the entire apartment has been preserved, from the original flooring, to the heating system used in the early 1900s. The Fireplace room is a must-see, its walls and ceilings adorned with motifs inspired by Latvia nature and heritage. It’s the perfect place to immerse yourself in both the history and architecture of Riga, with plenty of photo opportunities provided!

The Art Museum, Riga Bourse 

Designed and built by Russian architect Harald Julius von Bosse in the mid-19th Century, the museum itself melds influences of both Art Nouveau and Italian Neoclassicism, and houses six permanent exhibitions, showcasing the excellence of both national and foreign art. The museum describes itself as ‘one of Europe’s eight most successful museums’, perfect for art-lovers with a wide range of interests, including European, Indian and Southeast Asian, Baltic, and Ancient Greek, Roman and Egyptian artworks and artefacts.

The Latvian National Museum of Art

If you want a taste of Latvia’s national art and heritage, I would strongly recommend a visit to the Latvian National Museum of Art. The building itself is incredibly well-preserved and houses a comprehensive history of Latvia, particularly in regard to independence. A particular artwork I recommend seeing is Andris Breže’s ‘Masters of the Land’, (1988, see left). 

Zuzeum Art Center 

A relatively new addition to the art scene in Riga, the Zuzeum Art Center was founded in 2017 with the aim to raise awareness of Latvian art worldwide. It boasts a large and currently expanding private collection of Latvian national art, ranging from the 19th century to present day. 

Darcie Peters is currently a student at Liden and Denz, Riga.

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